docu.pngWhen you’re sick to your stomach that you just paid $11 to see a carbon-copy remake of Hangover I, check back into the real world and check out the American Film Institute’s SilverDocs documentary film festival just down the road. This week, four films by Hoya graduates will be screened among a field of 108 refreshingly relevant documentaries.

The SilverDocs festival, co-sponsored by the Discovery Channel, is now showing at the nearby AFI Silver Theater and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, Md. The ninth annual festival, which runs from June 20 through the 26, will feature films hailing from 52 countries and is expected to draw 27,000 attendees. The event offers a wealth of opportunities for anyone wanting to escape the summer heat and see a few scintillating documentaries.

Four Hoya Films

The Loving Story, edited and produced by Elisabeth Haviland James (SFS ’99), is the story of Mildred and Richard Loving, whose 1967 interracial marriage prompted their exile from Virginia and the landmark Supreme Court case which later overturned laws in 16 states. Now playing Thursday, June 23 at 2:45 p.m. and Friday, June 24 at 7:30 p.m.

Rebirth, directed by James Whitaker (COL ’90), follows the lives of five individuals during the decade following the September 11, 2001 attacks and chronicles their losses suffered, their challenges faced and their strength to move forward. Now playing Thursday, June 21 at 6:15 p.m. and Saturday, June 25 at 10:00 a.m.

Age of Champions, directed by Christopher Rufo (SFS ’06), takes a look at the elder athletes who still excel at the National Senior Games, celebrating their personal triumphs and athletic vigor. Now playing Saturday, June 25 at 5:15 p.m. and Sunday, June 26 at 2:15 p.m.

Miss Representation, from Executive Producer Regina Kulik Scully (I ’85), examines the objectification of women by mainstream media and offers solutions to the gender inequality it creates. Now playing Wednesday, June 22 at 8:oo p.m.

Entertainment and Education, On-Screen and Off

In addition to the four films, this year’s festival boasts a significant presence by Georgetown University and offers a great opportunity to interact and learn from fellow Hoyas. Jody Arlington (COL ’93), in her eighth year managing Public Relations for SilverDocs said with a laugh: “Its just ridiculous how many Hoyas are involved this year, one way or another.” Also involved are fellow Hoyas Dana Kreger (MSB ’99) with production management, Ami Vitori (GRD ’95) with sponsorship management and Amanda Lo (COL ’13) with the press team.


Also helping with social marketing for the festival are Kylé Pienaar (COL ’12), Christine Ryan (COL ’12), Mary Reilly Down (SFS ’13) and Lilian Hughes (GRD ’12). They are applying their experience toward the new ‘Film Festival Studies’ course, taught by Arlington and professor Bernard Cook (COL ’90, GRD ’91), who serves as the Director of Georgetown’s new Film and Media Studies Program.


The festival also provides an outlet for education through the SilverDocs Conference: the festival counterpart where current and aspiring filmmakers and attendees alike can connect for discussion and celebration of the art of documentary filmmaking. One such opportunity is a Master Class on Directing, which will be taught by Heidi Ewing (SFS ’94) and Rachel Grady, co-directors of the Academy-Award Nominated documentary Jesus Camp.


“It’s amazing that we’ve got a number of different alumni who’ve reached a level of distinction in documentary filmmaking that they’re getting recognized by the festival, both featuring films in festival and also as featured participants” Cook said. “Further, those alumni are being really open and generous with our current students.”


“[SilverDocs is] not just a place to go see films but also a place to interact with our alumni doing great, great work in film and media especially around documentary,” Cook said.


“If they only knew that if they just park themselves up there for a week they would be able to interact with the stars of the field everyday, all day long,” Arlington said, echoing a message similar to aspiring filmmakers.

Tickets for individual screenings are $11, but the SilverDocs Voucher Pack for 20 screenings is discounted to $165 and includes a number of special events and parties. Check out the screening and conference schedules, which are available online.


SilverDocs runs from June 20 through 26th, with additional screenings through July 2. The AFI Silver Theater is located at 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, Md. 20910 and is a short two-block walk from the Silver Spring Metro Station on the Red Line.


And even if you’re out of town for the summer, you can still catch these great films after SilverDocs ends. A selection of documentary films from the festival will be brought to Georgetown in a “SilverDocs At Georgetown” series throughout the academic year. Stay tuned for the great work by Hoya and non-Hoya filmmakers alike.

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